Breeding Freshwater Snails For Aquarium

Breeding Freshwater Snails For Aquarium
Breeding Freshwater Snails For Aquarium

There are various articles on the land snails, business opportunities and how useful they are. However, let’s pay a little attention to the freshwater snails that are useful in ecology and in the survival of other water organisms which human rely on. 

Just as it is necessary to know the specie of land snail before rearing, it is the same with freshwater snails.

Do a thorough research on freshwater snails suitable for an aquarium and their demand by aquarium fish shops and aquarium owners as well as shell artists.

Freshwater snail species are more in number when compared to the land snail species.

Most people shy away from them because of parasites and are not edible.

They are however interesting environmental indicators.

To succeed in a commercial freshwater snail production, it is best to have these snails in different tanks.

This will prevent species from becoming a prey to other species and ensure a huge reproductive rate as much as possible.

This can be rewarding and educational, and even a fun project to do with your kids.​

Breeding Freshwater Snails For Aquarium
Freshwater Snails Shell Collection

Breeding Freshwater Snails

To breed any type of snail whether land snails, sea snails or freshwater snails, it is important to create an environment similar to their natural habitat where they can be safe from predators and not starve.

For the freshwater snails suitable for an aquarium, it is important to note their feeding habit and parameters needed for their survival.

You don’t put freshwater snails in a tank filled with their prey or not rich in minerals.

Some freshwater snails can reproduce in freshwater while some require seawater or brackish water to be able to breed.

Their eggs are often laid on the glass of the aquarium while some are laid under the substrate or above the water level.

Whether you want to hatch the eggs is your choice so you can either remove the eggs or let them be.

The population of your snails can also be a factor to letting the eggs hatch or not.

Breeding Freshwater Snails For Aquarium
Freshwater Snail Eggs

Freshwater Snail Eggs

Snails generally lay eggs in hundreds except for some specie like the rabbit snail; therefore, it is easily noticeable on the water surface.

They can appear as a:

  • clear gelatinous sack with small eggs inside
  • single pearl-like egg such as the rabbit snail egg
  • hard solid white domes found laid on glass, decor, or plants
  • matte pinkish or white clusters above the water, on the glass or tank lid

Hatching period varies for each snail species except for the Japanese Trapdoor specie that gives birth live.

It would take several months to get a decent amount of freshwater snails as snail farming requires patience.

Furthermore, It is best to remove a small amount of new snails per time so that the old ones do not die off and then the colony can sustain itself.

It is also important to breed a particular colour of particular snail specie together in a tank.

The apple snail specie for instance has colour varieties so you rare according to a colour and not because they are all apple snails.

Freshwater Snail Care

The first significant care when breeding freshwater snails is to know the pH and mineral content of the water which is their habitat.

Unlike land snails that can aestivate and crawl into hiding, the water is the main habitat of freshwater snails.

Mineral Content Of Water For Freshwater Snails

Freshwater snails are mostly tolerant of nitrate level less than 20ppm but do not tolerate ammonia or nitrite.

Most freshwater snails have the same or similar care routine.

They best fit in a cycled tank or pond.

The shell is the main cover therefore it has to be healthy. A healthy shell is firm, hard and not brittle.

The freshwater snails therefore need adequate minerals in their water for their overall shell health.

A regular pH test is required so that their shells don’t deteriorate resulting in death of the snail.

The pH and hardness scale varies according to each species.

Breeding Freshwater Snails For Aquarium
Fragile Snail Shell

The general hardness (gH) is measured in degrees of general hardness (dgH) and water with lower levels of hardness are considered “soft” while higher levels are considered “hard”.

Here’s a scale of dgH:

  • 0-3 soft
  • 3-6 moderately soft
  • 6-12 slightly hard
  • 12-18 moderately hard
  • 18-25 hard
  • >25 very hard

Conducive Habitat

The pH of the water is also very important although it is not so impactful on the freshwater snail shell health.

Freshwater snails mostly prefer a neutral of 7.0 to a more alkaline over 7.0 environments.

Just like all aquatic animals, oxygen is important for survival.

These snails are a good indicator of the oxygen levels in an aquarium as they will converge at the top of the tank when there is low oxygen.

Feeding Freshwater Snails

With the exception of the assassin snail species, snails will do well with a good amount of algae in their tank.

However, they can also be fed a variety of vegetables which includes cucumber, blanched carrot and spinach.

Freshwater snails also eat algae and shrimp pellets and any food that makes it’s way to the bottom of the aquarium tank.

Breeding Freshwater Snails For Aquarium
Freshwater Snail Feed

Just like most aquarium organisms, snails don’t have to be fed every day as they eat algae which are readily available in the tank.

They can be fed about two to three times a week; remove any unfinished meal after a day just like the land snails in other to avoid infections.​

Water Volume For Freshwater Snails

Despite being a water organism, freshwater snails can crawl out and explore.

It is therefore important that the water flow should be minimal to average in your aquarium or breeding tank.

Tank Size

It is important to get a tank large enough to house a decent colony of snails.

This is because some species are larger than others.

Large species include rabbit snails, apple snails, Japanese trapdoor etc.​

Breeding Freshwater Snails For Aquarium
Japanese Trapdoor Snail

Cautions With Freshwater Snails

Snails and other invertebrates are very sensitive to copper therefore, avoid medications for parasites which contain copper as they can kill the snails.

Some fertilizers also contain copper and too much will increase morbidity especially in potted aquariums.

Snails can also crawl into the filters of an aquarium and die.

It is important to cover the filter intake with a foam, nylon socks or fish net and rubber to prevent them from getting stuck!


Breeding freshwater snails is fun and exciting; requiring low capital, equipments and time.

Also, It can be a form of side business or an educational activity.

Breeding Freshwater Snails For Aquarium
Breeding Freshwater Snails For Aquarium

You can supply aquarium owners, fish stores and even educational institutions.

Let’s hear your thoughts on breeding these crawly creatures!

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